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iCloud your email

Posted 5 years ago in Tech by Rod Drury
Posted by Rod Drury

While on summer holiday I seem to become the local IT support desk – but at least we end up with lots of crayfish.

iCloud box

Twice already I’ve had to sort out email for grandmothers in business. They live on their iPhone but still using their first email address, often the one they got from their from their Internet Service Provider (ISP). One grandma just lost 6 months worth of contacts because she hardly ever connects her iPhone to her Mac (that’s when contacts are backed up) and just had a problem doing an iPhone upgrade.

As it’s a new year here here’s some help to upgrade your iPhone and email experience so you have continuous backups of your key information and you can access it from anywhere. This is ideal for any sole trader running off a generic ISP email like

Your own domain or go generic?

You may consider getting your own email domain which does look more professional. For example you might like to be You can then create other email address under your domain. I recommend this for any business with more than one person.  It looks a lot more professional.

Gmail is ideal for hosting your own domain but it is a more complex set up.

If you really are sole trader then having an email address will probably be fine.

This is quite easy to get going and you can be or or anything you like.

POP has lost its pop

If you’re connecting to your ISP’s email you’re likely using a protocol called POP. As part of your setup (likely many years ago) your email will set up to pull email from something like and to send email through Often your phone doesn’t delete the messages from the POP server but your computer will. So you keep seeing the same emails again and again, or once you’ve got them on your computer you can’t see them on your phone.

Most ISPs have a webmail client that allow you to get your email from anywhere but they only display messages left on the server. If any of your mail clients delete messages from the server you’ll only see unread messages. Search is usually poor as your emails may be split across devices.

The new way is using cloud based email which knows your email has been read and keeps everything in sync across your iPhone, Computer and iPad. It’s much nicer. Support for cloud email like  iCloud and Gmail is built in to your iPhone and iPad so you just enter your credentials and you’re up and running.

Introducing iCloud

iCloud is Apple’s email in the Cloud service. In addition many of the Apple applications use iCloud to keep data in sync across your devices. This is great as everything is getting backed up for you.

iCloud icons

iCloud also keeps your Contacts, Calendar, Notes, Reminders and Documents all in sync.  It also has Find My iPhone, Photostreams and manages your Safari bookmarks across devices.

On your iPhone or Mac – Mail,  Contacts and Calendar work exactly as you’d expect but silently iCloud is doing its thing – keeping all your devices up to date and providing a continuous back up of your key data.

You don’t have to use iCloud for everything, you can choose which applications will use iCloud.  You can also run multiple accounts so you might run your old email for a while as you transition to the new mail.  More on that later.

Untangling the IDs

So here is where things get fun and hopefully I don’t come unstuck.

There are 3 identifiers or accounts we’re going to need and it’s important to understand what each is doing.

  1. Your current non Apple email
  2. Your AppleID/Primary Email Address
  3. Your new iCloud Email/Alternate Apple ID or Alternate Email Address

Firstly, there is your old email details. You’ll be able to log into your ISPs portal and check email online. You’ll have an email address and password.

Next you’ll have an AppleID. This is what you use to connect to iTunes, update your iPhone software etc. Having an AppleID does not automatically give you an iCloud email address but you can add the iCloud email address to your AppleID. An AppleID is an email address and often it is your email address for your old email.

Now this is where it gets confusing. Your AppleID cannot initially be an Apple sourced email address. This is kind of nuts because we want to get rid of the old email address but you still have to have an email address that is not an Apple one.  The email address you use to sign in with is called the Primary Email Address. It’s likely your old email.

So as your AppleID and Primary Email Address is the same, things can get confusing.

However, you can use your new iCloud email as an Alternate Apple ID so that you sign on with that.  It has the same password as the Primary Email Address.  So while you should keep your old email alive, practically you’ll never have to use it.

This will make more sense when you login to where you manage your AppleID and see how everything is connected.

Driving from the iPhone

OK so now we know about IDs, lets look at Accounts.

iPhone accounts – screenshot

Under Settings on your iPhone you’ll see iCloud and Mail,Contacts, Calendar. You can run numerous Accounts on your iPhone (I have 4) and you can mix and match what services each Account uses.

Lets’s dive into the iCloud option. Because my email is on Microsoft Exchange which syncs everything for me I have Mail, Contacts and Calendar switched off. You’ll have all of them on.

iCloud settings – screenshot

You can see here all the things iCloud can do for you.

So lets go back now to settings and look at Mail, Contacts and Calendars where you can see all the accounts on your iPhone. Under each Account you can see the services configured for each account.  So I’m running iCloud for a few things and my Xero Email which is on Microsoft Exchange.

Account list, iPhone settings – screenshot

Surf around the accounts and you should get a feel for what’s happen where.  If you have two accounts with Calendars your Calendar will show items in both Calenders in a  single view so pay attention to Default Accounts so you put things in the right place.

Creating your iCloud email address

Creating an iCloud email address is very easy. Under Settings\iCloud (where we were just before) turn email on. If you don’t have an iCloud email address associated with your AppleID, you’ll be prompted to create an email address on

One you’ve found an email address that is unique your basically done. Your emails for your new account will be working.

Send an email from your old email account to your new iCloud account and reply to test.

At this stage you’ll still be getting your old email and your new email coming into your inbox. You’ll have your old POP account and your new iCloud Account.

When you turn on iCloud for Contacts and Calendars everything will be backed up to iCloud. You can check by logging into

Once you’ve sent and received a few emails and checked that what’s on iCloud matches your phone you should have confidence it’s all working.

Letting everyone know

Over the course of a few weeks you can let people know you have a new email address. Perhaps put a message in your signature.

If your ISP allows it you can speed things up by forwarding any new messages to your old email address to your new account. Here is an example setting from an ISP where you can set up forwarding …

ISP settings – screenshot

Another idea is to use the vacation response to let people know you have a new email address and to use that.

If you do that you can delete your old email account from your phone. Every few days for a while go back to your ISP web mail to make sure people are getting the message that you have a new account. Also you’ll probably need to change your business cards.  Wait at least a couple of months before completely giving up on your old account as you may have bills coming in where companies may still have your old email address in their system.

Other iCloud features

With your new email up and running have a play with Notes. Notes becomes really useful when synced between your iPhone, iPad and Mac. Also download the Find my iPhone app which also runs using iCloud.

Hopefully you’ll now have piece of mind that you key email, appointments and contacts are all back up for you.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any questions.

And no, you don’t need to send crayfish.


Gayle Buchanan
January 7, 2013 at 8.25 am

Blimey you are a good fairy! Awesome instructions thank you

Peter Brush
January 7, 2013 at 1.44 pm

Great stuff, but iCloud email does not seem to allow creation of signatures showing anything other than text, which looks terribly “unbusinesslike”.

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